Dasha Kelly started a GoFundMe page with modest goals – to raise $2,000 to prevent her and her three daughters’ imminent eviction from their Las Vegas apartment. Two weeks later the page had over $200,000 and Kelly is more than emotional.
“I just want to tell everybody thank you so much,” Dasha Kelly said from her couch on Tuesday. CNN reported that it was one of her last pieces of furniture. She was tearing up and speechless when she found out how much money was raised. “I’m still in denial.”
Kelly’s three daughters sat with her as they realized everything was going to be “OK.” Sharron, 8, Kia, 6, and Imani, 5, were all gathered around when the news struck – eviction was no longer around the corner. They lived with the constant fear that they’d be out on the curb for almost a year.
During the pandemic, 32-year-old Dasha Kelly lost her job as a card dealer at a Las Vegas casino. She and her family struggled to pay bills, but the federal eviction moratorium kept a roof over their heads. The moratorium officially ended over the weekend and Kelly’s family could be kicked out at any moment.
“I had no idea what we were going to do,” Kelly admitted to reporters. The idea of a GoFundMe page was far-fetched by Kelly had hopes that she could raise just enough to cover this month’s rent. Dasha Kelly wrote a heartfelt message on the platform with the hopes that she and her three girls would not be homeless.
“My name is Kelly and I have 3 daughters living in Nevada,” she wrote. “We were maintaining just fine before this pandemic hit. Now we are suffering. We do have EBT for food, and also applied for Chap. However, they do not assist immediately. We owe $1,900 for rent alone not including utilities. I will figure out utilities by pawning a few things. As you all know it is entirely still too hot to be homeless. My daughters are aged 5, 6, and 8. Please help with anything you can”
Donations started piling in and before long the page had raised over $193,000 from more than 3,000 donors. “It gave me a lot of hope,” Kelly explained. “And I just want to make sure I do the best that I can to help the next person that is in my same situation.”
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there are more than 11 million Americans behind on their rent. Congress did approve a $46 billion reprieve but most of that money hasn’t been sent out. With the moratorium done, families wonder how they will pay for their rent.
The pandemic has placed people in new circumstances. Dasha Kelly made as much as $5,600 a night as a Las Vegas card dealer but now she relied on food stamps and $100 unemployment payments to get by. She resorted to selling her blood plasma for extra cash, but it wasn’t enough to get by.
Kelly explained that “I’ve always worked. I’ve been working since I was 16 years old.” She continued, saying that “It’s just crazy to me that something can come to take your job without you doing wrong. I mean, you’re actually doing what you’re supposed to … getting good reviews, showing up to work. Then a virus comes in and then, ‘Oh sorry, you have no job’ … and you didn’t do anything.”
Dasha Kelly’s potential eviction hit harder because of her daughters. As she slowly sold her furniture and pawned her belongings, Kelly found it hard to explain to her daughters what was happening. “There are days I don’t even want to roll out the bed (or) roll out the floor, you get what I mean?” she admitted. “How do you explain that to your kids?”
With few friends to turn to Kelly was stuck. “I really don’t have a lot of friends out here, but just the coworkers that I’ve met,” she explained before finding out about her massive GoFundMe stash “I’m hoping they can help because my parents, they’re in another state and they’re kind of having a hard time themselves.”
Now Dasha Kelly is the one that can help others as she is ready to collect her nearly $200,000 donations. The payment is more than enough to maintain her modest Las Vegas lifestyle and keep a roof over her kids’ heads for a long time.